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Legislative report says Florida suffers from mal-distribution of dentists

By Lynn Hatter

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-984705.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – Several universities are considering expanding and opening up dental schools in the state. But Florida's Dental Association says there's no need for them. Lynn Hatter reports a recently released legislative report seems to back that up.

The Senate Health Regulation Committee says most of the state's dentists are in the more populated areas of the state, leaving rural areas with a dentist shortage. The Committees report makes several recommendations on how to re-distribute dentists. It's suggesting a loan-forgiveness program tied into working in rural areas and serving Medicaid patients . It also says Florida could guarantee low-interest loans for new practices in under-served areas. Last session lawmakers upped the amount of money dentists receive for treating Medicaid patients.
Meanwhile, the Florida Board of Governors will begin hearing proposals from several state universities on the issue.

The University of Central Florida, Florida A&M University, and Florida Atlantic University are all considering opening dental schools and the University of Florida wants to expand its dental school.